Samsung says it is not interested in HP’s PC business

PAO ALTO, Calif. ― Samsung Electronics Co reiterated on Thursday it is not interested in buying Hewlett-Packard Co’s PC business, shooting down persistent market talk the South Korean firm may snap up the unit to become the world’s top PC maker.

Samsung’s rare and strong denial comes as its component customers fret over its potential conversion into a serious competitor.

Samsung is the world’s biggest maker of computer memory chips and also a top maker of flat screens used in computers and laptops.

“I would like to definitively state that Samsung Electronics will not acquire Hewlett-Packard’s PC Business,” Samsung chief executive Choi Gee-sung said in a statement.

“Hewlett-Packard is the global leader in the PC business, while Samsung is an emerging player in the category. Based on the significant disparity in scale with Samsung’s own PC business and lack of synergies, Samsung is not interested in the acquisition.”

Samsung sold only about 10 million units of PCs last year, one fourth of HP’s sales. The South Korean firm counts HP and its rival Dell Inc among its core clients of chips and flat screens.

HP said last week that it may spin off the world’s largest PC business, part of a wrenching series of moves away from the consumer market, including killing its new tablet.

The announcement stoked expectations that its Asian rivals including Lenovo Group Ltd and Taiwan’s Acer Inc. might be interested in the unit, which some analysts value at $10-$12 billion, banking sources said.

Cash-rich Samsung has been tipped as a potential buyer in some media and brokerage reports.

HP may drop PCs, to buy Autonomy for $11.7 billion

SAN FRANCISCO/NEW YORK ― Hewlett-Packard Co. may spin off the world’s largest PC business, part of a wrenching series of moves away from the consumer market, including killing its new tablet and buying British software company Autonomy Corp. for as much as $11.7 billion.

The moves underscore the problems plaguing personal computers and devices, which have long HP’s business. The iconic company associated with the birth of Silicon Valley also plans to kill WebOS-based phones and the TouchPad tablet, which was launched in June but has failed to excite consumers.

HP’s third-largest acquisition ever and its potential departure from the PC arena sets in motion a transformation that recalls International Business Machine Corp.’s overhaul of the last decade.

The barrage of news, which forced HP to announce third-quarter earnings an hour early on Thursday, masked a sharp reduction in HP’s estimates for full-year revenue and earnings that sent its shares 6 percent down to a 52-week low. They slid another 10 percent to $26.61 in after-hours trade.

HP Chief Executive Leo Apotheker is responding to mounting pressure to fire up growth just as global economic and tech-spending outlooks darken. Like other PC makers, it is struggling to come up with an answer for Apple Inc.’s iPhones and iPads, which are gobbling up PC market share.

“HP is at a critical point in its existence and these changes are fundamental to the success we all want,” Apotheker told analysts on a conference call.

The announcement is the second this week to show how quickly technology companies are transforming as they jockey for position to cope with radical changes in consumer demand. Google Inc. announced on Monday it was buying mobile handset maker Motorola Mobility  for $12.5 billion, launching the Internet search and mobile software company into manufacturing for the first time.

HP “is saying ‘I want to be more like IBM.’ They divested their PC business and they got more involved in software,” said FBN Securities analyst Shelby Seyrafi.

“The PC industry is a very challenged one because of the slow growth in that sector. For those companies like HP which don’t have a strong tablet offering, they are victims of the encroachment of Apple’s iPads and tablets on their notebook business. So they’re vulnerable to losing share.”

Competitor Polycom to buy HP videoconferencing unit for $89 million

PLEASANTON, Calif.― U.S. videoconferencing company Polycom Inc will buy Hewlett Packard Co’s videoconferencing business for $89 million in cash, as it arms itself in its fight for market share against Cisco Systems.

In recent quarters, Polycom has collaborated with companies like Microsoft and IBM to offer products that fuse video and voice better and gain ground against Cisco.

But Microsoft’s recent $8.5 billion acquisition of Skype is likely to boost videoconferencing from workers’ desktops, posing further risks to companies like Polycom and Logitech.

The deal with HP will allow Polycom to expand its services into the high-growth desktop and mobile video conferencing market, helping it balance its traditionally dedicated terminal heavy business.

Under the agreement, HP will host Polycom’s video applications on its mobile operating system, webOS, and also resell Polycom’s products through its salesforce.

“One thing in common that HP and Polycom have is a competitor, which is Cisco Systems,” Polycom CEO Andy Miller said.

Miller said he did not see Microsoft’s Skype buy as a threat because it was focused on consumer markets while Polycom gets most of its business from large companies.

The acquisition of HP’s videoconferencing unit will bring Polycom HP’s telepresence system Halo, which was originally designed in partnership with Dreamworks Animation Skg Inc .

Polycom has been looking to target smaller businesses and consumers with its videoconferencing applications for mobile devices and plans of a home telepresence system.

A telepresence system is a made up of a suite of applications and products that make videoconferencing more real life.

HP earnings disappoint investors while Dell delivers blowout

NEW YORK ― Hewlett-Packard Co. slashed its 2011 earnings forecast as it embarks on a spending spree to revamp a troubled division, while long-time foe Dell In.c delivered another blowout profit.

The twin leaders of the global PC industry ― under siege from the growing popularity of powerful mobile gadgets like Apple Inc’s iPad ― are increasingly venturing into higher-margin services: helping corporations set up networks, servers and storage to engage the cloud.

HP CEO Leo Apotheker vowed to invest heavily on hiring and expanding its services division ― everything from computer maintenance to consulting ― to recover from “missed opportunities” under predecessor Mark Hurd.

But investors sent the stock tumbling more than 7 percent, fearful that costs ― tightly controlled under Hurd ― would balloon and shave points off already-pressured margins.

Dell, on the other hand, showed good progress on advancing margins to a better-than-anticipated 23 percent precisely by moving into higher-margin enterprise solutions and services. Its stock climbed 5 percent.

Dell has been in turnaround mode for more than a year and its efforts are now visible in the results.

“Dell was a company that was struggling and it’s paid its dues in terms of investing,” Shaw Wu, analyst with Sterne Agee said. “Now you’re seeing the fruits of that labor.”

“HP underspent, in services in particular, and they’re suffering for it,” he added.

HP trimmed its sales forecast for the second straight quarter. Dell, on the other hand, raised its operating income outlook for the year on improved profitability.

The latest revision to HP’s outlook, the second since Apotheker took over seven months ago, raised questions about the former SAP CEO’s ability to spark growth at the technology behemoth.

Several Wall Street investment houses, including Credit Suisse and Barclays, responded to the results by lowering their recommendations or price targets on the stock.

HP and Dell’s results underscored the weakness in the global PC market, which is under siege from the growing popularity of mobile devices such as Apple Inc’s iPad.